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Gradual awareness in shaving

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Be Good To Yourself

In looking back over these recent years of shaving, I’m surprised at how much time it took for me to become aware of certain things. Horsehair brushes, for example: I was using them regularly, thinking “Okay. Brush. Lather. Good.” (I shave in the morning, so perhaps am not at my best.) But very gradually I became aware that the horsehair brushes seemed always to produce good lather, especially certain ones that I started to favor.

And D.R. Harris shave sticks: It took me a long time to recognize that, each time I used one, I thought, “Wow, the lather this time is really exceptional.” Finally—after an embarrassingly long time—I caught on.

Why hadn’t I noticed right away? But the same thing happened with my Edwin Jagger DE87: I got it, used it, thought it was okay, but… The usual. But then I began using it more and more, and I realized that this new head really is something special. (At least for me: shaving experiences (and judgments) are notoriously shaver-dependent.)

I’m sure you’ve had (or will have) the same sort of belated recognition, “This ( pick one: razor/soap/brush/shaving cream/blade/aftershave) really is exceptional. I should use it more often.”

What shaving things were you slow to recognize?


Michael Ham, author of Leisureguy’s Guide to Gourmet Shaving the Double-Edge Way, is retired and follows his interests in shaving and shaving products, cooking and creating recipes, reading books and watching movies. His blog,, reflects those interests. He can be found on Mastodon at [email protected].View Author posts

3 thoughts on “Gradual awareness in shaving”

  1. It depends on if you’re the kind of guy who settles for “good enough.” As Leisureguy teaches, great shaves have many different variables, much like how many ingredient varieties there are to a good soup. It took me too much money to realize that the best brush I have (not perfect), is a $20 Vie-Long Boar/Horsehair (04102). It works with every cream and soap I’ve ever bought with the fewest adjustments. It’s hard to stop when you’re ahead!

  2. I’ll go with the opposite…I was very quick to realize that TI Le Grelot straights were terrific, and promptly sold all my vintage straights, and now only shave with my 4 razor rotation, all new production TI Le Grelots.
    The same went with Tony Miller Strops…I’ve tried multiple brands, and everytime I buy another, it gets used for a few days, then I go back to my TM’s and use then solely…
    You think I would learn and stop buying more…haha!

    1. Good point: some things make such a marked difference that the shaver immediately says, “Wow!” A couple of instances from my own experience: The first time I tried a brand of blade that was a “best blade” for me, I immediately took notice. The shave was so much easier and smoother than I picked up on it immediately. And my first shave with a Slant Bar got the same reaction: “Why didn’t anyone tell me how great these were?!”

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